The Writing of Snoo Wilson at the Shed
His untimely death last year sent shock waves across the world of theatre. Theatreland will be forever mourning the loss of someone who revolutionised British theatre. Born Andrew Wilson, Snoo, a nickname he developed in school as a boy, began writing in the 1960s and soon became one of the most prolific writers of his time. Tackling subjects such as race, death and politics this reading was a fond and loving look back at his work and a chance for those who worked with him to share their stories and to remember their friend.
In a packed theatre with many stars from stage and screen in attendance, close friend Dusty Hughes led proceedings, joined by fellow playwright Howard Brenton, critic Michael Coveney and Liz Dale. Actors Lesley Sharp, Simon Callow, Clive Merrison and Jamie Muscato performed readings from some of his most successful plays.
First up was Pignight, a tale of a mentally disturbed former soldier who believes pigs are ready to take over the world. This was the first play Wilson also directed and seemed like a fitting place to start in this tribute to the great writer. Howard Brenton affectionately recapped his time with Snoo during their portable theatre works and described him as “a roadie” as he would travel the length and breadth of the UK surrounded by props for his shows. Everyone had a warm and funny antidote to provide. Michael Coveney praised Wilson’s challenging stage logistics and marvelled at the way he was able to do things that no one else was doing.
Simon Callow looked back at a time where they would drink together whilst working and illustrated Wilson as an emotional man with an amazing imagination. The most touching moment came from Liz Dale as she explained how a production of Bedbug changed the lives of 114 of her students and allowed them to indulge in a journey of self-belief through his work.
A reading from 1973s Vampire was performed to perfection by Callow and a scene from Darwin’s Flood where Mrs Darwin is trying to convince her husband that she recognises the “trespasser” as Jesus was funny yet somewhat relevant as Dusty Hughes beautifully explained that Snoo believed that people such as Freud and Darwin are our reality and are very much needed in our lives.
This was an emotional yet humorous look back at the life and outstanding works of a man who picked up the world of British theatre and turned it on its head and for that we thank him.
Watch behind the scenes footage with crew at a production of Snoo Wilson’s More Light here: